I am writing to say how disappointed I am that legislators in Augusta voted down open primaries.

I was raised as an independent Mainer, so it only seemed fitting, when it came time to register to vote, that I would do so as an independent. I did not give much thought to the fact that this would prevent me from participating fully in the election process. However, as I have gotten older I have felt more left out.

This past fall, I canvassed for Jared Golden and volunteered for Terry Hayes. I appreciated that I could campaign and vote for whomever I chose. I believe that democracy could thrive if everyone could feel that freedom and be able to participate in every step toward choosing elected officials.

Maine’s closed primary law prohibits 35% of the state’s voters from participating in primary elections because they are not enrolled in a political party. In the past couple of years, many unenrolled voters I know have decided to enroll in a party simply because their voices were not being heard. These are Maine residents who pay taxes that go toward funding primaries that they are banned from participating in.

In 2017, 80% of Maine’s voters said they supported opening Maine’s primaries. This state is one of only 11 states with “members only” elections. It is time that Maine lets everyone’s voice be heard.

I hope others will speak with their legislators about supporting open primaries.

Tobie Akerley Gordon, South Paris